Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972); Live at the Fillmore East; Live at Massey Hall Archives Performance Series 200 gram vinyl

With the most recently announced release date of February 24th coming and going, Neil Young's fans are going to have to continue to wait for the first installment in his highly anticipated Archives series. The continued delays have not, however, quelled speculation about what format or formats the archives will eventually end up on.

Ten-disc Blu-Ray high-def and standard DVD boxsets have already been announced, spanning Young's early career from 1963-1972. Speculation has been rampant, however, whether the set will also be released on compact disc or vinyl. This latest speculation regarding a vinyl release gained momentum after it was rumoured that each part of the ten-disc set would also be available separately. That, combined with the fact that two of the three installments of the Archives Performance Series that have been released thus far, Live at the Fillmore East and Live at Massey Hall , have also been released on 200 gram vinyl, only added fuel to the fire. Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House, is also expected to get a vinyl release.

Cd only edition

For those who haven't picked up the 200 gram vinyl versions of the first two installments of the Archives Performance Series, Live at The Fillmore East and Live at Massey Hall, they are both well worth it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ebay Auction of the Week: Simon & Garfunkel Bookends Mono Vinyl

Simon & Garfunkel Pictures, Images and Photos

My Vinyl Review starts a new feature today, the *Ebay Auction of the Week. In this feature, I will showcase an auction of interest to the audiophile or vinyl collector.

This week's auction is of an original MONO pressing of Simon & Garfunkel's 1968 folk rock classic, Bookends. This longstanding fan favorite marked the last time the duo offered their releases in both mono and stereo. Bookends produced four Top 25 singles, including the number-one single, Mrs. Robinson. Having also reached the number one position on the album charts, original stereo vinyl copies of Bookends in nice condition are not at all hard to come by.

Friday, February 20, 2009

U2 Video: Angel of Harlem

In anticipation of the upcoming new release from U2, No Line on the Horizon, here is video of the song, Angel of Harlem, from the movie Rattle and Hum. I've always loved the Stax-inspired horns in this song and the great sound captured by the band while playing in Sun Studio. If you've never seen the movie or haven't seen it in a while, it might be just the time to give it another chance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Release U2: No Line on the Horizon 180 gram vinyl

u2 no line on the horizon Pictures, Images and Photos
On March 3, 2009, U2 will release their 12th studio album, No Line on the Horizon, on 180 gram vinyl as well as compact disc and digital download. Watch the promotional video for the single, Get on Your Boots, located on the left side of this page and vote in the Reader's Choice Poll for a vinyl review of the LP (refresh browser if videos don't immediately appear).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vintage Vinyl Spotlight: The Beatles "Blue Box" Collection BC-13

NEW: Click here to read the Review of the 2009 Remastered cd of Abbey Road

NEW:First Listen: The Beatles MONO Box Set (The White Album) Review and Comparison to U.K. Vinyl

Featured today in the Vintage Vinyl Spotlight is a collection that is essential for any fan of the Beatles who spins vinyl. Whether you're a long-suffering vinylphile, getting back into the hobby after a long layoff, or a exploring vinyl for the first time, you'll likely to want a good sounding Beatles collection.

What pressings sound the best? U.S.? U.K.? Japanese? Stereo or mono? For the Beatles fan wanting an easy, one-box solution, there is no better source than The Beatles Collection BC-13, also known as The Blue Box.

The Beatles catalog was originally released in the United States and the United Kingdom with slightly different track listings, covers, and packaging. A much more striking difference, however, was the sound. The U.K. releases used minimal processing and offered superior sound, both in the mono and stereo versions of each release. The U.S. versions on the other hand often used second or third generation tapes, and processed the recordings with excessive echo and reverb, particularly on the stereo versions, in an effort to make the records sound more modern--the result was simply inferior sound quality.

The Beatles Collection, catalog number BC-13, was first released as a U.K. import in 1978. A numbered U.S. edition, limited to 3,000 copies was also released. Also known as The Blue Box, this collection contained the stereo versions of all of the proper studio releases, as well as Rarities. The records are housed in a flip-top textured blue cardboard box, which has each of the band member's signatures embossed in gold on the front.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reader's Request: Prince and the Revolution -- Purple Rain 180 gram vinyl

Purple Rain [180 Gram Vinyl]
Today's review is the first of what will be an ongoing feature of My Vinyl Review-- The Reader's Request, with the title to be determined through a reader's poll held the previous week.

A week ago, in anticipation of this release, I pulled out my original Bernie Grundman-mastered vinyl copy of Purple Rain and played it all the way through for the first time in over twenty years. What surprised me most was how this record is much more than an eighties time capsule, and despite some dated production values, has held up surprisingly well since its release twenty-five years ago. The other thing that really stood out was that despite living in the soul bins of nearly every music store, this is a rock record.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vintage Vinyl Spotlight: Steely Dan Greatest Hits 1972-1978


Today, a new feature makes its debut on My Vinyl Review: Vintage Vinyl Spotlight. In this feature, I will focus on records that contain great music, have fantastic sonics, and aren't too expensive or difficult to find.

Greatest hits packages can really be hit or miss. Often, they don't capture the essence of a band and fail to deliver a musically satisfying experience for anything more than the casual fan. Even more frequently, greatest hits packages suffer from mediocre sonics, as producers and engineers fail to pull together first generation masters from the varied sources required for a project. Today's featured record suffers from none of these deficiencies, and also happens to be one of my favorite greatest hits offerings by any artist.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best of 2008 Releases: Shelby Lynne --Just a Little Lovin' 180 gram vinyl


No best of 2008 list would be complete without Just a Little Lovin', Shelby Lynne's tribute to Dusty Springfield. I have to admit that before picking up this record, I wasn't a particularly big fan of Dusty Springfield, having only casually heard her more notable recordings on the radio over the years. Having already heard the buzz that this was a good sounding album, the question remained whether it was merely audiophile ear candy, or something worthy of repeated listening.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New My Vinyl Review Feature: Readers Choice Poll

Not sure whether to buy the latest reissue of your favorite record? As a new feature in my vinyl review, readers will have the opportunity to vote on which new vinyl releases and reissues will be reviewed. Vote for the title you would like reviewed in the special Poll section located on the left side of this page. Don't see your favorite listed in the poll? Submit your request in the comments section of this posting.

The Eagles: Hotel California 180 gram vinyl


Warner/Rhino continues to deliver on their promise of releasing high quality vinyl titles and has just reissued The Eagles' venerable Hotel California on 180 gram virgin vinyl. Should you buy another copy of this record? It depends. The original vinyl, released in 1976, is notoriously noisy, which just isn't a good thing when listening to ballads such as Wasted Time or The Last Resort. This new reissue from Rhino, mastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray, is not only quieter than the original, but delivers a consistently more satisfying listening experience than the original. When I received my Rhino copy, I got out my DCC vinyl as well as my original copy to compare.